- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 13 April 2016
- Written by AMANDA GLATZ | MANAGING/ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR
Five decades of rock n’ roll music are coming to Pollak Theater in a powerhouse, one-night only concert hosted by University senior and professional violinist Taylor Hope on Thursday, April 24. Hope will be joined by accomplished local musicians such as Glen Burtnik, Joe Bellia, Joe LaFragola, and Bob Stasiak as the ensemble takes audiences through the evolution of the rock genre, from the groovy vibes of the 1960’s to the cutting edge styles of today.
Hope, currently studying music and math at the University, worked closely with faculty and contemporaries in the music industry to develop her show, “Rockin’ Through the Decades.” The concert is in addition to Hope’s senior recital, and proceeds generated from ticket sales will be donated back to the University.
“I came up with the idea last year to put on a concert to wrap up my senior year at Monmouth and to donate the proceeds back to the music department,” said Hope. “It’s been a great experience putting together a show from scratch, from having a vision and being able to execute it. I’m so lucky to know so many talented musicians and am so fortunate to have some of them join me for the show.”
One of these guests, Burtnik, is a former member of the Styx revival and host of popular “Summer of Love” 1960’s concert. In addition to his myriad of accomplishments and over four decades of experience in the music industry, Burtnik has a long history of performing with Hope.
“I remember first hearing about Taylor, this young girl who was very talented,” Burtnik recalled. “Eventually, as so often is the case with creative people, we ran into each other and became friends. Her musical ability is matched only by her enthusiasm. To listen to Taylor play is to see the joy of music with your own eyes. It has been a pleasure watching this young musician blossom into the beautiful young artist she is and I am proud to play music on stage beside her.”
Also sharing the stage with Hope will be Reagan Richards, member of country duo Williams Honor and longtime friend of Hope.
“Taylor is the complete package,” said Richards. “She is an undeniable talent that has an energy that lights up a room, whether she’s playing or just having a conversation. She’s like a sister to me. We’ve shard the stage and toured for several years in many, many shows and it’s been incredible to take this musical journey together. I am beyond excited for Taylor to have this very special night.”
In developing her show, Hope worked closely with Joe Rapolla, specialist professor and chair of the music and theater arts department. Rapolla, who will be featured on several songs throughout the concert, spoke highly of his experience working with Hope.
“Taylor’s idea to produce a show in addition to her senior recital with these great shore area musicians and have the proceeds benefit the University is an example of her commitment to the University, the local music scene, and her character,” said Rapolla. “I’ve had the pleasure of performing with Taylor professionally. She is one of the best musicians to come out of the shore area. We were lucky to have such a gifted professional study at Monmouth.”
Hope has been playing the violin since she was five-years-old. In addition to performing a solo at the world-famous Carnegie Hall, Hope has opened for renowned acts such as Tim McGraw, Lady Antebellum, Jason Aldean, and Miranda Lambert. In her 16 years in the industry, Hope has performed at The Stone Pony, The Count Basie, Susquehanna Bank Center, and PNC Bank Arts Center.
“My hope for this show is that there will be something for everyone,” said Hope. “The audience can expect to hear some of their favorite songs from the 60’s to today performed by some of the best musicians in the area. It will be an evening you won’t want to miss.”
Tickets for “Rockin’ Through the Decades” are available for purchase via taylorhopemusic.com. Students can e-mail email@example.com to pick up a free ticket at Woods Theatre as part of the University’s Scholarship Week programming.
IMAGE COURTESY of Taylor Hope